In search of BLUEBILL

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Clayton Hammond, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. Clayton Hammond
    Joined: Jul 2019
    Posts: 0
    Likes: 0, Points: 0
    Location: Rhinebeck NY

    Clayton Hammond New Member

    My grandfather William K. "Bill" Hammond and his wife Rosemary "Rosie" built a 65' steel hulled houseboat called BLUEBILL on the banks of the Kentucky River in Brooklin, KY, right on US-68 between Lexington and Harrodsburg. Started in mid-1970's and finished around 1984. He laid and welded the steel, then flipped the hull and built the rest in wood and glass. Twin screw diesel powered. He was a SeaBee in WWII, then worked in steel construction after. The boat was his retirement project. He was a member of the Bluegrass Power Squadron. While under construction, he was visited by traveling writer William Least Heat Moon and a portion of his book Blue Highways featured the story of building the boat on the side of US Highway 68. When the boat was finished he made arrangements to have the dormant locks on the KY River opened for him so that he could get to the Ohio. From there he planned to get down to the gulf via the Tenn-Tom. He made it to Florence, IN and Turtle Creek Marina...across the river from Warsaw, KY. So that's technically headed upriver and not headed down to the gulf... Welding and smoking over the course of his life gave him emphysema. He was getting progressively sicker by that time and needed to find someplace to stow the boat while he and my grandmother moved back up into central Indiana closer to family and treatment. He passed away in 1986. Grandma tried to hold on to the boat but it was sold by '88 or '89.

    Lost track of it after that. We've all figured that at some point it was hauled up on a beach and broken up or burned.

    It may have changed name to Blue Skies with a subsequent owner.

    Some online research and pictures turned up these:
    D911797 VIN
    RBS Hull KY2005070678

    Would love to track it down. Any help out there?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
    Posts: 799
    Likes: 88, Points: 28
    Location: Victoria BC Canada

    BlueBell Ahhhhh...

    Arg!
    I was soooo close.
    Missed it by that much.
    BlueBell
     
  3. Elven Chrome
    Joined: Sep 2019
    Posts: 0
    Likes: 0, Points: 0
    Location: Denver

    Elven Chrome New Member

    I read Blue Highways during a difficult time in my life, didn't help that I was 14 and had just lost my grandfather. It was 1989, about the same year the boat was sold I guess.
    I'm so glad your grandparents finished the boat, from the story I wasn't quite sure, because it's like a Noah story -with this huge iron boat on blocks, landlocked and waiting for a flood and still far from finished. Of course the point is that it's a dream, and the dream is the important part.
    But wow, they did it, and what a beautiful, solid ship she is. The pictures are worth a thousand words. That boat is so well made I doubt she would be scrapped so soon. I think that boat is somewhere and I hope you find it, as it's part of your heritage.
    Thanks for the pictures and the update. Best regards to you and your family.
     
  4. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 2,076
    Likes: 130, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    More of a trawler than a houseboat.

    Corrections welcome.
     
  5. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,229
    Likes: 176, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    KY2005070678 If that is a Kentucky assigned Hull Id number (and it sure looks like one) The first three are KYZ making the HIN KYZ005070678. If the boat is documented with the USCG and many that size are, you could trace it through the USCG documentation center. Look here USCG PSIX Search Page https://cgmix.uscg.mil/PSIX/PSIXSearch.aspx The number D911797 is the USCG official number and I looked it up and it is still listed as active under the name Blue Skies. You will have to contact the USCG Documentation center to find out the owner. National Vessel Documentation Center https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Deputy-for-Operations-Policy-and-Capabilities-DCO-D/National-Vessel-Documentation-Center/

    Using a online vessel search site I found this (Free Vessel Documentation Database Search | MarineTitle.com https://www.marinetitle.com/vessel-documentation/database-search-lookup.aspx)
    OFFICIAL NUMBER: 911797
    HULL NUMBER: KYZ005070678
    IMO NUMBER:
    VESSEL NAME: BLUESKIES
    HAILING PORT: ST PETERSBURG FL
    YEAR BUILT: 1984
    LENGTH - FEET: 64.6
    BREADTH - FEET: 20.00
    DEPTH - FEET: 12.00
    GROSS TONS: 103
    NET TONS: 83
    SELF PROPELLED: Yes PROPULSION TYPE:
    HULL MATERIAL: STEEL
    HULL CONFIGURATION:
    HULL SHAPE:
    SERVICE TYPE: RECREATIONAL
    CERTIFICATE ISSUED:
    CERTIFICATE EXPIRES:
    CERTIFICATE STATUS: Inactive
    ENDORSEMENTS: Recreation
    BUILDER: WILLIAM K HAMMOND
    HULL BUILT: BROOKLYN, KENTUCKY
    VESSEL COMPLETED:
     
  6. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,229
    Likes: 176, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    I looked up BLUE SKIES on Vessel Tracker. Most vessels that size have MMSI or AIS and can be tracked. Vessel tracker shows a BLUE SKIES moored since Aug 18, 2019, At a marina next door to Albert Whitted Airport at 2nd Ave Northeast in Saint Petersburg FL

    Actually any boat with a VHF Marine radio that has MMSI (even my 18 ft Sea Ray) and the radio is on at some point can be tracked.
     
  7. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 2,076
    Likes: 130, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    U rock Ike!
     
  8. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 7,680
    Likes: 265, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    That is one hefty boat for a 65 footer, looking at Ike's description.
     

  9. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,229
    Likes: 176, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    yeah, 103 Gross tons! He built it solid.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.